MLBPA, Clark host kids clinic in San Diego

Players Association president joined by baseball vets, coaches for All-Star Game event

MLBPA, Clark host kids clinic in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark has deep ties to San Diego.

Before playing 15 seasons in the Majors, one with the Padres, Clark grew up in San Diego and was a prep basketball and baseball standout. He also spent part of his collegiate career at San Diego State.

With the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in his hometown, the MLBPA hosted the "Tony Clark Going Home" youth baseball clinic Saturday morning at UC San Diego. Coverage for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at Petco Park begins at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX.

More than 300 children attended the event, and each kid that participated had a tie-in to a league or organization in which Clark played while growing up in San Diego. The participants moved through different stations, working on baserunning, fielding and hitting drills.

"These are a bunch of young people who are kids that I walked in their shoes, playing in leagues that I played in," Clark said. "As much as this is a camp or a clinic, it's a personal connection that I'm excited about and grateful to be a part of."

Joining Clark on the sunny July morning was Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who continues to make his rounds through events around San Diego as an All-Star Game spokesman.

"It's a great day. Not only just the baseball clinic, but bringing people together for Tony Clark," Winfield said. "It's a great way for him to give back during this All-Star Week. So the [MLBPA], we're 100 percent behind it."

Also in attendance to help run the clinic were MLBPA special assistants Bobby Bonilla, Javier Vazquez, Jose Cruz Jr., Steve Rogers and several others. Former Padres standouts Heath Bell and Mark Loretta provided assistance as well.

"To be back here today, where [Clark] and his wife grew up, it's a phenomenal thing. I'm just glad I'm able to be here and participate," Bonilla said. "Nothing better than seeing smiles. The clinics do some special things."

Along with the former players, high school coaches from the San Diego area took time out of their schedules to help guide youth baseball players ranging in age from 6-14.

Clark was not surprised at the willingness of former players and local coaches to support a clinic that means so much to him.

"It's a testament to the fraternity of the game itself. There are a lot of people who are very passionate and excited about the game and more than willing to give back," Clark said. "So whether you're an active player, inactive player or someone that aspired to be, you're part of a baseball family and community, that given the opportunity, is willing to give back."

The MLB Players Trust worked with the MLBPA to put on the clinic. The organization provides an outlet for Major Leaguers to contribute time and money to people in need, and it has distributed more than $1.5 million in annual grants.

On Tuesday, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.